September 01, 2021
World Rugby will provide $1.2 million financial assistance to the Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika for the Super Rugby Pacific competition.
The announcement completes a journey that began when World Rugby’s Rugby Committee met in Suva in 2016 to consider opportunities to further support Pacific Islands rugby on and off the field.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont says the franchises will share the £1.2m annual funding package from World Rugby over an initial three-year period, which was approved back in March, in addition to support from their respective unions and potential third-party funding.
The Fijian Drua made a spectacular impact when they were introduced to Australia’s National Rugby Championship (NRC) in 2017.
Fully financially supported by World Rugby, they won the title in their second season, with players like Albert Tuisue using the NRC as a springboard to become an established test player.
Super Rugby Pacific 2022 will afford locally-based players similar opportunities when it begins next February with a 15-week regular season followed by quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final, to be played on 18 June.
The 12 teams will play 14 regular season matches, split evenly between home and away. The venue for the Fijian Drua’s home matches has yet to be announced, while Moana Pasifika will play home matches primarily in New Zealand.
Teams will play eight teams once and three teams twice with an emphasis on derby fixtures.
Meanwhile, the old Conference system has been abandoned in favour of a one table approach with the top eight teams at the end of the regular season qualifying for the quarter-finals and seeded according to their finishing positions.
By Romeka Romena